Nonprofit Essentials

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About This Program

The Nonprofit Essentials program is a series of nine skill-building courses designed to strengthen the capacity of students and professionals pursuing careers in the nonprofit sector or those interested in updating their knowledge and skills. Classes are open to the community. Nonprofit board members, staff and volunteers are encouraged to attend. Classes cover a range of topics essential to the governance and management of nonprofits.

Program Details

  • Location: Wake Forest University, Charlotte Center
  • Duration: 2017-2018
    August 2017 – May 2018
    9 Monthly Sessions (No December session)
  • Class Times: Thursdays, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
  • Cost: $150 per person/per class ($1350) or $1250 one-time registration/payment for all 9 classes

Next start date: August 24, 2017

The Wake Forest University Certificates Program is an open-enrollment, non-credit bearing program. (See Certificate Eligibility)

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What You’ll Learn

  • How to think strategically using critical questions to develop a successful strategy
  • Best practices for governance and legal compliance for nonprofit organizations
  • Nonprofit budgeting and finance, including finance terminology
  • Recruitment, retention, development and evaluation of staff and volunteers

Certificate Eligibility

Certification: Participants attending all in-class sessions and successfully completing the course work within the course time-frame (10 months, 9 sessions. August through May) will be eligible to receive a Wake Forest University Certificate. Participants may watch 1 recorded class session for 1 missed class and remain within certificate eligibility standards and guidelines.

The Wake Forest University Certificates Program is an open-enrollment, non-credit bearing program.

We invite you to contact us with questions or for more detail.


Program Prerequisites

Participants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A TOEFL examination for non-native speakers of English is not required but students are expected to read, write and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program. Requests for exceptions to these requirements must be made in writing to the program director at

Certificate Course Details

  • Course Content

    Introduction to Business Essentials for Nonprofit Organizations
    August 24, 2017
    Faculty: Joanne Beam and Holly Brower

    Too often nonprofit organizations are run first on passion and then on proven strategies and tactics.  In this class we will explore the value of integrating road tested strategies for improving organizational performance from governance to day to day operations. In this class, the first in the series, we will orient the students to the program; provide an overview of the series, the expected outcomes, and define goals for the class.  During this class students will create their own goals for the series and then be able to reflect on their progress during the Capstone class.

    Strategic Thinking
    September 14, 2017
    Faculty: Dan Fogel

    Learn how to think strategically using critical questions to develop a successful strategy for your organization.  We will ask who are your core stakeholders, how can you best address their needs, and what sequence of activities will ensure successful outcomes. We will use case studies and discussion about your organization to examine effective strategies and to assess the importance of the organizations position in the external market.  At the end of the session you will understand how to select an analytical and organizational approach to strategy formation and implementation, and overcome strategic myths.

    Governance and Compliance
    October 5, 2017
    Faculty: Diane Bailey

    Dianne Chipps Bailey, Nonprofit Organizations and Foundations Practice Group Leader, Robinson Bradshaw

    Review best practices for governance and legal compliance for nonprofit organizations. The class will explore the role of the board, building an effective board, and managing the relationship and roles of the board and staff. Learn successful advocacy strategies used to advance an organization’s mission for public good, and how to address related tax compliance issues. Other compliance to be addressed include charitable solicitation rules, state taxation matters, and hot topics in employment law for nonprofits. Finally, gain tools to minimize exposure to liability for the board and the organization.

    Budget and Finance
    November 16, 2017
    Faculty: Matthew Socha

    An organization’s marketability improves with greater financial clarity for the donor.  Nonprofit Board members and staff are more effective when they understand the impact of decisions on the organization’s financial health.  In this course we will explore nonprofit budgeting and finance, including finance terminology, the components of nonprofit financial statements, the 990 and a working understanding of income statement and balance sheet. Discuss the best ways to communicate financial data to internal and external constituencies.

    Human Resources
    January 11, 2018

    Faculty: Holly Brower 

    The most important part of any organization is its people. This course will address key topics such as recruitment, retention, development and evaluation of staff, volunteers; the importance of diversity in the nonprofit workforce; and specific strategies to create a motivating and rewarding work environment.

    Fund Development
    February 15, 2018

    Faculty: Joanne Beam

    Learn key strategies and tactics for successful fundraising, including developing and sustaining donor relationships, understanding the critical role of board members and volunteers in successful fundraising, creating a plan to guide your efforts and monitoring your effectiveness, and planning effective donor communications. Explore how technology can enhance development efforts by being used as a fundraising, communications and marketing tool.

    March 15, 2018

    Faculty: Adam Bernstein

    Saving time, money and resources through collaboration with other organizations sounds like a good idea, but what are the key principles that should be considered? Learn best practices for nonprofit collaborations and how to make these partnerships legally sound and successful. Discuss how to plan the communication about collaboration.

    April  19, 2018

    Faculty: Kathy Ridge

    The Nonprofit sector is under pressure to show meaningful results. This class will examine different evaluation models and lead you through the process of designing an approach to measure programs, create meaningful measures, collect and analyze data, generate a report, and communicate results to document impact, improve services, and support fundraising efforts.

    Capstone Session
    May 17, 2018

    Faculty: Joanne Beam and Holly Brower

    The last course in the series will focus on lessons learned, best practices, and current issues facing nonprofits regionally and globally. We will also examine leadership styles and the different roles leaders play in an organization.

  • Meet the Instructors


    Joanne O'Brien BeamJoanne O’Brien Beam, Lead Faculty. Joanne is an experienced fundraiser, planner, and presenter.  She joined Wake Forest in April 2014 for the second time to lead the creation of new programs which include the Essentials of Business for Nonprofits, College LAUNCH, High School Summer Immersion Program, and to work with major donors as part of the Wake Will Campaign. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Joanne was the founder and president of Capstone Advancement Partners, a consulting firm serving nonprofit organizations through relationship and result driven fundraising strategies.  Over her 15 year career as a consultant, Joanne served a diverse group of nonprofit organizations with her thoughtful and pragmatic fundraising, governance and strategic advice. Her fundraising experience began in the development office at Wake Forest University where she served as Associate Director of Advancement. Prior to becoming a fundraising consultant, Joanne was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the North Carolina Trust Company. Joanne’s career also includes five years as a commercial banker. Joanne is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University where she was President of the Student Government. In 2013, the Charlotte Business Journal named her one of the Top 25 Women in Business and in 1998, Joanne was named one of “Forty Leaders under Forty” in the Piedmont Triad.  In May 2014, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte by the Mecklenburg Times. Joanne is an active athlete and an avid golfer. She is married to Steve Beam and has one son.

    diane bailey portraitDianne Bailey’s practice is dedicated to the representation of nonprofit organizations, their senior management and volunteer leaders. She has extensive experience advising a diverse group of nonprofits in all aspects of their organization, administration and management. She has represented schools and universities, churches and other religious organizations, endowments, supporting organizations, corporate and family foundations, sports philanthropies, museums, business leagues, social clubs (including fraternal organizations), trade organizations, and a complement of charitable groups.

    Dianne writes and speaks nationally on topics related to nonprofit organizations, focusing in particular on corporate governance and tax compliance. She has been engaged as an expert witness in state and federal litigation matters, providing strategic counsel and trial testimony. In addition, Dianne has guest moderated Carolina Business Review, the most widely watched broadcast program on business and public policy in the Carolinas. She also has taught as an adjunct professor at Charlotte School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center.

    • The Mecklenburg Times, 2015 Woman of the Year
    • Women Executives, Spirit of WE Award, 2013
    • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly,Women of Justice Awards, Public Service Practitioner Award, 2012
    • Charlotte Business Journal,Women in Business Achievement Award, 2011
    • Charlotte Business Journal,Charlotte’s “40 Under 40,” 2005
    • Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

    Adam Bernstein, APR has more than three decades of experience providing public relations and strategic communications counsel with expertise in internal/external communications planning, community relations, media relations, crisis communications, issues management, public affairs and marketing communications. He has worked extensively in healthcare, professional services, non-profit, real estate development and education. Adam is an Accredited Member of the Public Relations Society of America, as well as former president, board member and International Assembly delegate for the Charlotte Chapter of the organization. In 2015, he was awarded the chapter’s Infinity Award, given annually to a member “whose character, career and service represent the highest standards and who excels in the practice of public relations.” Adam has chaired the boards of numerous community organizations including the Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, Temple Beth El and the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, and served as trustee of many others including the Charlotte Symphony, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Wildacres Leadership Initiative and United Family Services Men for Change campaign committee. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently working toward a Masters in Communications from Queens University in Charlotte.

    Kathy Brower Portrait

    Dr. Holly H. Brower teaches Organizational Behavior, Leadership, Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, and Leading Change. She has taught undergraduate, MBA and executive students, including in international programs in Germany, Austria and Nicaragua. She is also the faculty advisor for the Kemper Scholars program. After receiving her B. S. in Business from Wake Forest University she spent 10 years managing organizations in the nonprofit sector in Illinois, Colorado and Iowa. Experiences in these organizations included strategic planning, hiring, supervision, motivation, and development of employees (both paid and volunteer), board development, community assessment and development and fundraising. She also earned an M.S. in Business from Iowa State University and after earning her PhD in 2000 from Purdue University, she taught at Butler University in Indianapolis before joining Wake Forest.

    Holly is an active member of the Academy of Management and the Southern Management Association. She is a former Associate Editor of ” Academy of Management Learning and Education” Journal. Her research interests lie in the areas of corporate governance, leadership, trust and ethical decision making. Publications of her research can be found in the “Administrative Science Quarterly”, “Journal of Management”, “Academy of Management Learning and Education”, “Journal of Business Ethics”, “Journal of Management,” “Leadership Quarterly”, and “Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies”. In addition, some of her research was spotlighted in the “Harvard Business Review”. She has also presented more than thirty-five papers at National and International academic conferences.

    Amanda DeWeese, APR works with some of the most recognizable companies in the Carolinas and is a leader in Charlotte’s public relations industry. She provides strategic public relations counsel and media relations to clients in a wide range of industries such as education, engineering, professional services, public works, nonprofit and construction. She is also skilled in social media strategy, branding, advocacy, public affairs and project management. Amanda’s career began at Drayton Hall, a National Trust Historic Site in Charleston, SC, where she handled news media relations, planned events and assisted with marketing communications for more than two years. A College of Charleston graduate, Amanda received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) in 2011 and served as president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Charlotte Chapter in 2014. She has held various leadership roles within the chapter since 2006 and was the recipient of its Young Professional Award in 2009. In 2015, she was appointed to the board of directors of The Housing Partnership, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for low-income families in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

    Dan Fogel portraitDr. Dan Fogel is an Executive Professor of Strategy. He specializes in strategic management, especially innovation processes in firms, including those located in emerging and transition economies and in emerging industries.  His research and teaching interest are on sustainability practices and principles, international business and strategy development, and innovation for large organizations.  He has worked extensively as a consultant nationally and internationally for diverse organizations, such General Electric, Motorola (Brazil), Lockheed Martin, Lucent (Brazil), TESS (Brazil), AT&T and Bank of America.  His awards include research grants, several teacher of the year awards, a Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil, the 1988 Winner of the Yoder-Heneman Award, and several times the Distinguished Professor Awards. Dan Fogel has served and is serving on Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards within the United States and abroad.

    Kathy RidgeKathy Ridge is the founder of Levridge Resources, LLC, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Formerly a corporate Executive Vice President of Wachovia Corporation and then, the Executive Director of two nonprofits, Kathy has deep experience in leadership, problem assessment and organization ‘turnarounds’. Kathy’s finance background, coupled with her years in the nonprofit sector, has given her knowledge and practical application in being an innovative visionary who can get her hands dirty in tactical implementation.

    Kathy has served on the boards of the Charlotte Symphony, Child Care Resources, The Women’s Impact Fund, the Davidson College Friends of the Arts Board, The Arts Education Committee of the Arts and Science Council, and the Community Service Committee of First Presbyterian Church. She is serving on the board of directors of the Humane Society of Charlotte. Kathy has participated in Leadership Charlotte, The Wachovia Kenan Flagler School of Business Leadership Program, and has completed the McColl Center’s Innovation Institute and the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.  She is currently on the Leadership Team for the National Alliance of NonProfits and serving as Co-Chair on the National Alliance’s task force on executive transitions.

    “I love working in partnership with the people dedicated to nonprofit work. I am very lucky each day to support nonprofit organizations that are changing the world around them.  I believe social change happens because of nonprofit leaders.  We are able to help strengthen their leadership and their organizations through working together on the best business model, ensuring alignment between their efforts and mission, and developing more capacity for them to serve.”

    Matthew Socha portraitMatthew Socha is Audit Senior Manager in the Charlotte practice of Cherry Bekaert, Matthew has a profound passion for serving educational and not-for-profit organizations. As a member of Cherry Bekaert’s Education and Not-for-Profit Industry Groups, Matthew provides audit, assurance and advisory services to private and public colleges and universities, community and technical colleges, independent K-12 schools, educational foundation and charitable organizations.

    Clients depend on Matthew for timely, practical guidance on many technical accounting and compliance issues such as implementation of new standards, compliance with federal and state laws and grant programs, fair value matters, endowment accounting, and more. Matthew also specializes in accounting and tax issues for private clubs.

    Professional Involvement

    • Hospitality Finance & Technology Professionals – Charlotte Blue Ridge Chapter
    • Charlotte Chamber’s Young Professionals
    • SACUBO Benchmark Project
  • Time & Location


    All classes are held on Thursday from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Missed classes will not be refunded; however, students have two years to complete the program and may watch one class via video.


    Course will be held at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center in Uptown Charlotte: 200 N. College St. Ste 150 Charlotte, NC 28202

    Parking is available at no charge in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage located on 5th Street and adjacent to the Wake Forest Charlotte Center.  (You may enter the garage from either 5th or 6th Street.)  Please bring your parking ticket in for validation.

  • Cost

    $150 per person/per class ($1350) or
    $1250 one-time registration and payment for all 9 classes

    What’s Included

    • Some course materials are provided
    • Parking provided, in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage
    • Coffee and light snacks are available

    *Additional course materials may be recommended for student purchase.

    Student Recommended Reading/Purchase
    Human Resources (Session 5)
    January 11, 2018
    Instructor: Holly Brower

    Good To Great And The Social Sectors

    Nonprofit Scholarship & Pro Humanitate

    Wake Forest University has a great respect for the work of nonprofit organizations in the communities in which we live and work. One way we wish to express our appreciation is to offer our ongoing support and provide this course in the true spirit of Pro Humanitate, our university motto. The motto is at the heart of what Wake Forest does as an educational institution. In its essence means, bringing our best to share, serve and support others – from the individual in the classroom to the organizational level to entire communities and beyond.

    We are happy to highlight and share some outstanding classroom leadership and skill development opportunities with you though this course, relating the information specifically to nonprofit organizations.

    In the spirit of Pro Humanitate, we are also pleased to offer the course at a substantially discounted rate as a place to build community with others coming together to hone skills, network and grow together.

    We appreciate this opportunity to partner with you and hope you’ll be able to join us for a great journey together.

    Scholarship Request
    If you or your agency would like to request additional financial support, please contact us and submit:

    1) An explanation of your nonprofit, your role and the need for scholarship.

    2) When you write, please address how this certificate would benefit

    • you as a student and 
    • the nonprofit with which you are affiliated.

    3) Please provide your bio or resume as part of your scholarship request.

    Scholarship requests considered prior to registration only.

For More Information

For more information or to speak with a program advisor, please contact us.